I could never put my finger down on exactly why I loved The Violent Femmes, but now, after hearing this I can tell you why.
Their self titled record from 1983 had energy!
The simple riffs were played with intent, the lyrics were sung with commitment, and force, the music was sort of silly, but it was extremely danceable nonetheless. That record is near perfect in its execution and style, and there is nothing in its same vein that can compete.
This record “Hotel Last Resort” is none of those things. Lyrically it may be a little more grown up, but so is the music in the worst way possible. I can imagine if the band itself was an entity it would at this point be an aging music fan who spent too many nights drunkenly dancing around and now his knees shake as he struggles to get out of bed. The record sounds like a version of The Violent Femmes, but without the gusto that made them so great.
I had a hard time listening to this to be honest. A more mature, and better informed music fan would probably laugh at my taste for disliking this so much, but in my world The Violent Femmes exist to dance to; while fully clothed or otherwise, sober or otherwise, and vertically or otherwise. I don’t really care what the lyrics are about, they were just sung with such conviction and intensity on that self titled record that it doesn’t matter what they’re saying. On this release, nothing feels intense, it’s too grown up for what I love about this band.